Form the Back-to-School Practice Habit!

August 23, 2015, 7:48 PM · It's back-to-school time, and for many people that means back-to-violin-lessons.

Very often, summer represents a break from routine for students, as they take vacations, enjoy time off from classes and explore other interests. Even those who attend summer music programs may feel a disruption in their routine. It might be a positive disruption that involves intense study and progress, but it can be followed by a let-down upon arriving back in the "real world," which doesn't support that intensity in quite the same way.

Setting up (or returning to) a productive practice routine for the school year is one of the most crucial things you can do for your (or your student's) playing. Why? Because progress on the violin thrives on routine.

Whatever your level, whatever your goals, the best formula for steady progress and solid skill-building is quite simple: daily practice. But it will not happen without planning, discipline and persistence. Every day means every day, no exceptions.

The good news is that the start of the school year is a perfect time to work practice into your schedule, along with all those other routines that will come with the season. Here's how to do it: Form a habit. It takes 21 days to form a habit, but these have to be days in a row. If you miss a day, you have to start again. So practice (or motivate your child to practice) for 21 straight days, and after that, you will actually have a habit formed. You will find that you are compelled by the habit to practice, and if you are a parent, you will find yourself arguing much, much less. (Every day, parents, is much easier in the long run than "some days.")

fall practice calendar

Of course, after those 21 days you still have to make yourself (or your student) practice, but it becomes easier, the longer you feed the habit. The side-effect is that you start playing very well. When you're playing well, it's fun to practice. And the longer your "practice streak" becomes, the less you want to break it. Twenty-one days becomes a month, a month becomes two, then maybe you want to reach six months, or a year! It's a very virtuous circle. I've met students who went for years, practicing every day.

So make your resolution now, while your routine is taking shape for the fall. Make daily practice a part of that routine!

You might also like:

Replies

August 24, 2015 at 03:52 AM · There is something in between "every day" and "some days": Specific days. For the teenager with a lot of wholesome things on their plate and no interest whatsoever in a performing career, it can work, by which I mean tangible progress can be realized.

August 24, 2015 at 04:51 AM · In the absence of daily practice, scheduling practice is certainly very good idea! Much more accountable than playing it by ear and hoping that one day this week there will be enough time.

I will still submit that every day is easier than some days, though. Even if you only play for 10 minutes on certain days!

August 25, 2015 at 04:53 AM · Hallo, i really like your articles like that, i´m student, im going to start the 8 semester of University but i´m learning to play violin too, and sometimes i have no much time to practice, but i try.

August 25, 2015 at 10:36 PM · Love this! Thank you Laurie!

August 29, 2015 at 01:33 PM · For those that use "I don't have time to do it" as an excuse for not practicing violin or any other activity :

In reality, there is not time to do anything ... one has to create or find the necessary time to do it. Having or finding time to do things doesn't happen out of the blue. It has to be a conscious decision.

August 29, 2015 at 01:38 PM · For those that use "I don't have time to do it" as an excuse for not practicing violin or any other activity :

In reality, there is not time to do anything ... one has to create or find the necessary time to do it. Having or finding time to do things doesn't happen out of the blue. It has to be a conscious decision.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Our Kokopelli
Please support Violinist.com
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign.

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

The Potter Violin Company

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Zhuhai International Mozart Competition - Apply by April 30, 2017

Connolly Music

Corilon Violins

Meadowmount School of Music

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Heifetz International Music Institute

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop